At the most mundane level, self inquiry is asking “Who am I?” In asking this question, your attention reverses back onto itself, the mind becomes still and for however long it lasts, you experience nothing but pure consciousness, pure attention itself. Dualistic subject/object perception is gone and there is only the experience of one infinite consciousness.
The amazing thing about this meditation technique is that it uses the mind to stop the mind. “Who am I” is not an intellectual question, instead it is a question to cut right through the intellectual mind. Because if you really look to find the answer, you will find that your name, body and occupation is not what you are.
Certainly intellectually, these things would be your answer. But if you really inquire into the nature of what you are in this moment, you move past all mental definitions and come to something which cannot be put into words, something that actually silences the words.
So in practicing the self inquiry technique, in asking “Who am I,” your attention moves inward instead of outward, past intellectual knowledge to that which cannot be described or defined. You begin to experience what is here beyond your thinking, beyond all ideas and definitions of what you know intellectually. This experience of pure consciousness, pure attention is often referred to as the Self, Atman, the feeling of ‘I am,’ stillness, silence, the void and the absence of me.
All of these words may point in the direction of what is here, but it is necessary to note that the words themselves are not the answer. The answer is the silence, the mystery that is there every time you ask the question. You use the self inquiry…